The AN-32 plane crash site in Arunachal Pradesh. (File photo)
The AN-32 plane crash site in Arunachal Pradesh. (File photo)

AN-32 crash: Bad weather hampers operations to retrieve bodies of air-warriors

ANI | Updated: Jun 15, 2019 21:23 IST

New Delhi [India], June 15 (ANI): Bad weather severely hampered the rescue operation to retrieve the mortal remains of the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel onboard the ill-fated AN-32 in Arunachal Pradesh.
"The rescue team of 17 IAF, Army Special Forces and civilian members is present at the crash site. The rescue operations are being curtailed due to incessant rains and heavy clouding. No helicopter could fly today due to bad weather," an IAF spokesperson said on Saturday.
Helicopter operations require great skill and caution, under such conditions, especially hovering at high altitudes and very close to the steep mountain slopes.
Bad weather is hampering hovering by helicopters to do winching operations which are mandatory for all the rescue operations and recovery of mortal remains.
"All efforts are being made to heli-lift the mortal remains of the IAF personnel at the earliest to their parent base Jorhat. Rescue teams are standing by and operations will resume as soon as the weather improves," IAF said in its statement.
The AN-32 transport aircraft of the Air Force with 13 IAF personnel onboard went missing on June 3 after taking off from Assam's Jorhat. The aircraft was headed for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh when it lost contact with ground authorities at around 1300 hours.
After a massive search and rescue operation for eight days, during which assets from several agencies were deployed, the wreckage of the aircraft was located by a Mi-17 chopper.
The wreckage was located 16 km north of Lipo at an elevation of 12,000 feet. The picture emerging from the crash site suggested that the plane was trying to cross over the mountain top but could not do so due to blockage of views by clouds.
The IAF faces problems in operating the AN-32 aircraft in the Northeast and Northern areas as the plane can't fly above the terrain in mountains with one engine and has to manoeuvre through the valleys the way aircraft like Dakotas and Caribou aircraft in older days.
The upgradation plan of the aircraft has been derailed due to strained relations between Russia and Ukraine. (ANI)